Why Jared Janczak is the best answer to help solidify TCU’s starting rotation

TCU right-hander Jared Janczak will start against UT-Arlington on Tuesday.
TCU right-hander Jared Janczak will start against UT-Arlington on Tuesday. Courtesy of TCU Athletics

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle is always pleased when his team wins a series such as taking two of three from Seton Hall last weekend.

But Schlossnagle wants to see more consistency from his team and he made it clear where it starts.

“Starting pitching,” he said. “Everybody wants to talk about everything else, but the bottom line is it’s starting pitching.”

For TCU, an internal answer to help cure the starting pitching woes is senior right-hander Jared Janczak. Janczak is scheduled to make his second appearance this month when he starts for TCU (22-12) at UT-Arlington (24-13) on Tuesday night.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington.

Janczak, one of TCU’s top pitchers the past three seasons, knows he can help provide some of that desired consistency among the rotation that Schlossnagle is talking about.

“I know what I’m capable of doing and that’s going out there and helping us win,” Janczak said. “I can’t expect to come right back and be perfect right away, but I’ve just got to show these younger guys what it’s about to be a TCU pitcher. That’s my goal -- go out there and do that.

“Not try to be perfect, not try to strike everybody out, but do what I do as a pitcher and help us win.”

Janczak ranked as one of the Frogs’ best starters in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and was expected to be part of a 1-2 punch along with Nick Lodolo this season. But Janczak struggled early on in his return from multiple offseason surgeries, forcing TCU to shut him down for almost a month.

Janczak returned to face Dallas Baptist last Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts over two innings. Janczak had a 1-2-3 first inning and felt good about his performance despite what the box score may suggest.

“The end result wasn’t the best, the scoreboard didn’t say it, but I went out there and I felt like I had my best stuff that I haven’t had in the last year,” Janczak said. “I feel like the ball is jumping out of my hand. I’ve got command of the ball. I know where it’s going. I got a little tired in the middle inning but, besides that, I felt really good.”

Janczak is expected to be on a pitch count in the 50-70 range against UTA, but he isn’t overly concerned about where he is in the buildup process. Instead, Janczak is optimistic that better days are ahead.

He felt his velocity returned in the Dallas Baptist game, and it’s just a matter of time before he starts putting it all together and going deep into games.

“Against DBU, my velo was back,” Janczak said. “It’s the hardest I’ve thrown in a while. I could tell the way the ball was coming out of my hand and off my fingertips, it had some get-up to it. I knew that was a good thing.”

That’s positive news for Janczak and TCU.

This is a guy who went 9-2 with a 2.31 ERA over 15 starts as a sophomore in 2017, and had a 3.00 ERA in eight starts last season. The Los Angeles Angels selected Janczak in the 32nd round of last year’s MLB Draft.

This season, Janczak has seen his ERA climb to 8.10 in five starts, although that is largely due to him finding his way post-surgeries. Janczak underwent surgery to repair Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, as well as shoulder surgery last offseason, and never seemed to find the proper throwing slot early on this season.

That has been addressed and Janczak is making progress. It’s just taking longer than anyone hoped.

“I expected to come right back and be exactly who I was before and that’s not how it goes every time. It rarely happens,” Janczak said. “But I’ve got a great support staff around me, great teammates, and they’re helping me through it. I know they still believe in me as I still believe in myself. There were some low points where I had to gather myself and get back on the saddle if you will.

“But I’ve kept working hard and the end result will be there. You’ve got to trust the process, especially through injuries. If you do everything the right way, the game will reward you.”

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